Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Real Cheese vs. Processed Cheese

A good friend and I are having an e-mail flurry on such a small subject. It seems ridiculous that these small items can fill our lives, and yet, having someone to share the small discoveries and discussions with are what make wonderful friends (and my husband doesn't care a hoot about these kind of topics, he'd just like dinner once in a while).

My friend :
I found this article and thought it was very interesting. I'm always trying to learn more about nutrition and eating healthy, for me and my family.

This article talks about nutrition labels and real foods (ie, cheese) vs. processed foods. It was about a year ago that I learned that Kraft cheese slices are "CHEESE PRODUCT" not real cheese! And that it's hard to find cheese slices that are REAL cheese, as most are listed as "CHEESE PRODUCT". Not to mention, the powdered cheese in the boxed mac and cheese! Once again, you just have to read the small print and/or ingredients.
What I think is most interesting is that you didn't know that. Have you ever tasted Kraft singles? The price difference between real cheese & fake cheese is huge, too (real cheese is generally alot more expensive). One of my pet peeves about cheese is how often I'm slicing, grating, crumbling & cubing (it's cheaper in blocks) and how much work it is to melt to a smooth consistency. Even though it's a hassle, we
eat TONS of cheese, and almost all of it is real.
My friend:
I've never bought chs in a block. Sounds like too much work. I do buy the huge pkgs of slices at Sams, though. And I probably didn't know about the Kraft singles b/c growing up my mom didn't buy them. But what she did buy was lots of Velveeta. Funny thing is I thought that was real chs! It wasn't until I got married and was cooking for Ken that he brought it to my attention that it was fake. Then my dilemma was how was I going to make homemade mac and chs with real chs? I still use velveeta sometimes, just b/c it makes a great mac and chs. But I mostly use the slices from Sams. Maybe I should try the block. Is that what you do for M & C? What kind of chs do you use?

The article was so interesting to me b/c of the issue about labels. I think it is so misleading to put the words "real cheese" on something when it's clearly yellow powder. AND people believe it!!! I have switched to only buying the shredded chs made with 2% milk just b/c of my past cholesterol problems. After getting my numbers down without medication, it's really important to me to keep them down. I do the same with most dairy. I buy the lower fat stuff. It does cost more, but I feel like it's a good investment in my/my family's heart/arteries in the long run. If I'm prone to high chol. then maybe my kids will be someday too. Who knows.
To make Mac & Ch, I buy dried powder cheese from Schmucker's Greenhouse - Amish powdered cheese HAS to be healthier -- It's my one concession to buying bricks of real cheese.
My friend :
Are you serious? Or are you joking? Powered cheese? Never heard of it. And if you are serious, is it really healthier? How can that be? I'm guessing you're being sarcastic but in an email, without hearing your voice, I can't tell :)
I'm serious. I don't know how they make it (possibly grate, dry, grate
& dry it? here's one product description), but since the Amish make much of their own food (and I don't think they'd repackage & sell something at their store that they didn't make) I only assume it's healthier than all the chemicals that are added to the stuff they sell in grocery stores. It looks and tastes just like the mac
& cheese powder (or the stuff you sprinkle on popcorn) only in approximately
quart packages.

We found it by accident. They had it in these really thin clear plastic bags that they wrote on with permanent marker and had it low on a shelf. Ds2 at 2 years old poked a hole in one as we passed by with his finger, so we felt obligated to buy it. (The next time we went to that store they had it in thicker clear plastic bags.) I didn't know what I'd do with it besides sprinkle it on popcorn, but since we only have micro-popcorn, it doesn't taste right with the fake butter in micro-popcorn. So I just guessed at the proportions and made mac & ch with it -- the kids went crazy -- they loved it. So that's how we make our mac & cheese -- with whatever noodles we have on hand & Amish powdered cheese.
I think this sounds like a field trip BEGGING to be scheduled -- alas, not this year. Maybe next year with baby in tow...


  1. Jenn, I'm replying to your comment you left on my blog in case you don't check back there too. :o)

    Jenn, I got the walls of Jericho idea from a book called The Encyclopedia of Bible Crafts for Preschoolers by Group Publishing. It was from the library, so you can put a hold on it and have it delivered to your local branch!

  2. Cristi12:04 PM

    I just found your blog and I always like going to the beginning and reading from there. My husband and I just watched a documentary on cheese on the History channel. Apparently processed cheese is made from real cheese, with emulzifiers added to separate the fats from the proteins. In the process they stir the cheese constantly. They add the emulzifiers so that the cheese will melt more consistantly because the fats are separated.

    All cheese, even natural cheese starts out white but they add stuff to it to make it color (like blocks of cheddar cheese)


  3. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Hi, it's me, the above "Friend". Funny, I was checking into this for another friend that recently came to notice the words "cheese food" or "cheese product". Did a google search of "cheese vs cheese product" And right there, third result was Jenn's blog w/my quotes. I feel so special!

    Anyway, one more thought about the Amish making their own food.... If you think for a minute that they make/produce all those items they sell in their store (Schmuckers) ?? Like corn nuts, red hots, coconuts, etc. If I'm not mistaken even their amish egg noodles are packages elsewhere and simply sold at their store. Any thing that is packaged in a clear bag with a sticker on it with the words hand written what the item is, was most likely bought in bulk from somewhere, shipped to them and they package it into smaller bags to resell. I would be willing to bet that only a few items are actually MADE there, by hand, by the amish. Pretty much anything can be bought in bulk and sold in smaller portions.

    Not trying to be a cynic just realistic. I love buying their fresh fruits and veggies, beyond that, many things are cheaper elsewhere.

    And sorry. powdered cheese just can't be real cheese. I'd love to be proved wrong but I can't bring myself to beleive anything less.

    Jenn's Friend :)

  4. Anonymous6:05 PM

    After reading this I went in search of Amish cheese powder. Found an ingredient list

    Ingredients: A dehydrated blend of cheese (granular and blue (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes)), whey, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, whey protein concentrate, lactose, maltodextrin, salt, sodium phosphate, citric acid, lactic acid, yellow 5, yellow 6.**Contains: Milk and Soy Ingredients. **Repacked in a facility that also processes products containing: peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, milk, egg, fish, crustaceans shellfish and wheat ingredients.

    I found this on Yoder's Amish market website. Didn't know the Amish were online, but thought I would list my findings in case any one was curious.